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    Linking to homepage vs deep linking


    Iíve optimized my site architecture so the pages I want to rank in the SERPs are linked from each page and the internal links to these pages have relevant anchor text. Iím planning to get people to link to internal pages of my site as opposed to the homepage of my site in response to google placing more weighting on natural link distribution.

    If we take the homepage as an example, Iím concerned that building incoming links to other pages of my site with anchor text relating to those pages wonít yield results as well as pointing those incoming links to my homepage, with anchor text thatís related to the KWs being targeted on the homepage.

    Iíd love to know what you think?
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    I tend to try and get links to deeper pages for three reasons:-

    1. It helps the SEO on those lower level pages as the engines don't have to visit the home page of the site first.
    2. It's a natural linking profile (if you were linking to a book on Amazon, say, would you link to the Amazon home page or the actual book?
    3. It helps conversion, many people are "lazy" and look on the page they have landed on for the answer to their problem. If they have to then find and click on a link on the landing page to get to the page that contains the product / answer to their question they are more likely to back out to the search results and try the next result.
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    Makes perfect sense, unfortunately my products aren’t very link worthy so I’m testing out a new strategy and have the choice to either get links to content pages or to my homepage.

    In terms of link flow, am I correct in thinking, if I point an incoming link to an internal page that has 50 links to other pages on the site then this would have the same effect on the pages linked to as if I was to point that link to the homepage that has the exact same 50 links?

    If so, would the anchor text of those internal links have the same effect as the anchor text of the incoming links?
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    It depends on the importance of the page - if your home page already has, say 100 links to it from other sites and the product page only has one then Google will see the internal links on the home page to have more weight than the internal links on the product page (note that I've assumed that all the external links are of the same value for this explanation).

    But getting external links to your product pages (or even a category page that then links to the product pages) will make it more likely that the product pages will be read and indexed by both Google and the other engines. I've had examples in the past where a page has got "stuck" until I got a single link to it and then it has featured in the results
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    Thanks John, so in my example let's say that my product category page is linked from both the homepage and page B. If I got a link from an external website to page B, in terms of link juice, would that have the same effect on the category page as if that external website linked to the homepage?
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    Generally I would say that it would have a better effect on the category page if it links to that rather than the home page.

    If you think of it as the external link is a vote for the page it's pointing to - and that vote gets shared between all the links on the page that it is pointing to... So, you either end up with a whole vote for the category page or you end up with 1/50 of a vote if the external link was to the home page (I noticed you said that the pages have 50 internal links on them).

    Of course, it's not quite as simple as that as external links have different weights depending on things like the importance of the page it's coming from, the wording of the link, the age of the link etc and I'm sure I read somewhere that note all of the "vote" is passed on to other pages - I seem to remember seeing 85% quoted but it was probably 8 or 9 years since I read about it in any great detail. But hopefully the simple explanation is good enough
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    when someone create back links for you homepage it effects whole website but less effectively but when you get back links for a particular webpage thats helps you get more traffic to that specific page with certain keywords. So I think both are important.
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    @apnavaru - that depends on the navigation and structure of your site, a link to an internal page that has links to all other other pages on the site in the navigation will help the rest of the site just as much as if that link was to the home page (assuming that the navigation on the home page also links to all the other pages on the site). Of course this is difficult (if not impossible) for large e-commerce sites but for sites that relate to services many of them have standard navigation on all the pages of the site.

    The link to internal pages gives those pages an extra "boost" as the link-juice doesn't have to trickle down the site before it reaches the internal page. It also helps the engines find internal pages easier and most importantly takes human visitors (those people who are going to buy your service or product) direct to the page that satisfies their search.
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    Originally Posted by phatmike10
    Thanks John, so in my example let's say that my product category page is linked from both the homepage and page B. If I got a link from an external website to page B, in terms of link juice, would that have the same effect on the category page as if that external website linked to the homepage?
    Someone would generally link to a specific page because that's the page which is relevant to what they are talking about (or what ever reason they have to link to the page), so if someone links to domain.com/blue-widget its because they find that page relevant to blue widgets and are suggesting that to people and the search engines.

    So if you have an external link pointing to page B google will see that page as the relevant page for that link meaning that page is the page that reaps the majority of benefits from that link.

    Now for the strange part of your question (sorry if I miss understood it, but its a little strange the way I am reading it).

    Your asking if xyz links to page B will it benefit your home page? Well that depends how page B links to the home page (which you didn't say?)

    home page > category
    page B > category

    That means that a link to either the home page or page B will earn link juice for the page the external link is point at as you already know. Now as you are linking to the category page from the home page and page B, they will pass link juice down to the category page, but they will not pass link juice to each other (home > page B and page B > home) unless they are linked.

    I think that's what you was asking, from what I quoted of your above question, no?

    Maybe have a search for "link structure" and "link juice flow" as the topic has been covered before and you should find helpful (and better explained) details on here and other sites
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    @apnavaru - that depends on the navigation and structure of your site, a link to an internal page that has links to all other other pages on the site in the navigation will help the rest of the site just as much as if that link was to the home page (assuming that the navigation on the home page also links to all the other pages on the site). Of course this is difficult (if not impossible) for large e-commerce sites but for sites that relate to services many of them have standard navigation on all the pages of the site.

    The link to internal pages gives those pages an extra "boost" as the link-juice doesn't have to trickle down the site before it reaches the internal page. It also helps the engines find internal pages easier and most importantly takes human visitors (those people who are going to buy your service or product) direct to the page that satisfies their search.
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    Thanks Nathan, that’s a great help. Apologies for not making it clearer, but you’ve covered my question. So what I’m understanding is a page that is linked to from an external site (lets call it page X) is given a vote based on how many links go to the page on the external website where the link is coming from and how many links are on that external website’s page. So if this portion is 2, the page receiving the link is given 2 and then all the other pages that link from page X are given a fraction of that?
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    Explaining this is not a simple task that's why I recommended you have a search for "pagerank flow" or "link juice flow".

    Have a read of this An Internal Link Juice Tool - YouMoz | SEOmoz and play with the tool for some simple examples of how much link juice is passed around your site etc.

    For a simple (I hope lol) over view I would say:
    page X > page B will pass link juice, but just how much will depend on a few factors:
    1. How much link juice page X has to share
    2. How many out bound links are on page X

    Those are the basics, so for example 1:
    page X has say 2k links point to it giving it PR4 and only links out to 3 sites including your page, this will mean it can pass on more link juice/pagerank to your site.

    Example 2:
    page x has only 100 links pointing to it giving it PR1 but links out to 100 sites including your page, this means it will pass less link juice/pagerank due to two reasons:
    1. It has less link juice to pass on in the first place.
    2. Its diluting the link juice it can pass to you due to having to share it with 99 other links it links out to on the same page as yours.

    Have a google for "pagerank and link juice flow explained" and you should find some sources that explain it much better then me (and with images to show you what they mean), but I think (and hope) you should get that basic gist of it from the above
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    Thanks Nathan, makes sense now, the bit I was strugling with was whether or not increasing the number of links to other pages on page X decreases the PR of page X but am I correct in thinking that the number of links won't affect page X's page rank but will affect the amount of passable PR per link to other pages?
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    Originally Posted by phatmike10
    Thanks Nathan, makes sense now, the bit I was strugling with was whether or not increasing the number of links to other pages on page X decreases the PR of page X but am I correct in thinking that the number of links won't affect page X's page rank but will affect the amount of passable PR per link to other pages?
    You really shouldn't be looking to build links just for toolbar pagerank, your link building should be improve your sites rankings, popularity, brand awareness, targeted traffic and so on!

    If your simply building links to try and make the toolbar PR higher your not going to gain much other then maybe being able to sell links on your site for a little more cash. Is that your goal? Is your website purely built to sell links on? If not I would suggest you learn about building valuable links which will be of value for your sites rankings and visibility on the web rather then to increase a number which adds no value for your visitors!
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    Thanks Nathan, I’m aware that PR in itself doesn’t have too much weight for ranking these days. The reason why I’ve been looking into how link juice affects a site is I feature editorials on other companies that my visitors are interested in. The companies I write about want to link to me and I have a choice to either let them link to my homepage with some relevant anchor text or link to the editorial. I’d prefer that they link to their editorials instead of the homepage as their visitors will see a link to the editorial on their website which will act as an endorsement/social proof for their visitors plus I’ll get referral traffic. I also think they’ll be more likely to link to their editorial than my homepage.

    So if a website links to their editorial this will help the other pages rank that are on my site wide navigation to a similar extent as if they were linking to my homepage (give or take an extra couple of internal links on homepage)? However by linking to the editorial, the editorial will receive the greatest impact from the link juice and in contrast by linking to the homepage, the homepage will receive the greatest impact from the link juice. Am I correct in thinking this?

    If my assumptions are correct, from an SEO point of view it would be more beneficial to have the links pointing to my homepage as my homepage is targeting commercial keywords. However the downside is that increasing links to homepage makes the site’s link profile look fairly unnatural.

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